This disquieting, sharply comic novel recounts a period of mental breakdown in the life of Gilbert Pinfold, as established novelist of mature years. Given to moments of paranoia and memory-loss, he attempts to cure himself by going on a cruise to the tropics, but instead his febrile imagination brings him to the very brink of insanity.
Waugh confessed that 'Mr Pinfold's experiences were almost exactly my own' and that he himself underwent a period which he afterwards referred to as 'my late lunacy'. In his Introduction Richard Jacobs argues that the novel that resulted in as acutely styled and ironically charged as the best of Waugh's earlier work, and that the novel and Waugh's biography are entangled in a richly fascinating way. An extended Appendix helps to illuminate that relationship and substantiate the importance and distinction of this remarkable work.